Greenpeace India, an environmental campaigning group, on Monday staged a demonstration in front of Delhi's Vidhan Sabha to protest against poor electricity supply in the city.
Activists tied a huge caricature of Chief Minister Shiela Dixit to the gates of the government building, to criticize her for assuring, without any concrete plan, uninterrupted power supply during the summer. "The protest was staged during the on-going budget session to remind the Delhi government and legislatures about the impending electricity crisis, Delhi will suffer, in the coming summer, due to state's overdependence on coal," Greenpeace said in a statement.
The capital is already facing unscheduled power cuts in many parts of the city. The severe power shortage is caused due to lack of coal supply to NTPC's five major power plants that provides one-third of electricity to Delhi.
Last year, a major power outage caused a blackout in Northern India affecting millions of people in New Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan. The massive power grid and the blackout showed that energy from fossil fuels and coal are not reliable, said Greenpeace.
More than 75 percent of electricity in Delhi receives power from coal-based thermal power plants that are located in other states. Due to rising cost of coal in both national and international market, at least 32 major thermal power plants that provide electricity to Delhi suffered a severe shortage of coal. This led to a deficit of 8000 MW of electricity generation.
"Delhi Government and in particular the Chief Minister who is going for election later this year to seek an unprecedented fourth term, should understand that real solution to power crisis in Delhi does not lie in being over dependent on technologies based on coal which is becoming expensive, but increasing investment in renewable energy like Solar and Biomass to create sustainable future and long-lasting energy infrastructure for the state," said AbhishekPratap, Senior Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India.
Although coal shortage was witnessed last year, electricity generated through alternate sources of energy such as solar and wind energy was stepped up in other parts of the country. But, Delhi is one such place that does not have any policy to generate electricity from wind, solar and biomass energies.
Even after being aware of last year's electricity crisis, the Delhi Government has not provided any solution to address the water shortage issue in the budget presented by the state chief minister. The government did not release any policy or plan to tap energy from alternative sources. Even the 12th Five Year Plan of the Delhi government does not have any provision to address the energy sector. Despite all these issues, the government has announced a reduction in the overall energy budget by half, the Greenpeace report said. The protesters demand a concrete plan to get electricity supply from alternative resources.